Tonga show improvement in opening defeat

Tonga showed major improvements in their Rugby World Cup opener against England but creating and finishing opportunities with the ball in hand remains an Achilles heel.

The 'Ikale Tahi restricted England to four tries in the 35-3 defeat in Sapporo but were unable to breach their opponents' tryline, despite shading the possession stats and forcing their opponents into more turnovers, tackles and penalties conceded.

Coach Toutai Kefu said Tonga put in a much improved performance from their last showing against the All Blacks but struggled to make any inroads against the England defence.

"We had a bit of a gameplan that we executed, I thought. They're a good team - they squeezed us for territory in the first half and we just couldn't get into their 30 to throw any punches really," Toutai Kefu said.

Tonga trailed 18-3 at half-time and could only muster 159 metres gained over 80 minutes compared with 670m by the English. Kefu says scoring points and executing on attack remains an ongoing problem for the 'Ikale Tahi.

"I think that's been an issue with us this year so far. I think we just need to keep chipping away at our core skills under pressure. We are getting better, there is a massive improvement tonight but...there's some opportunities there that we're not taking advantage of. We've just got to keep chipping away," Kefu said.